Why do we buy what we buy? Free will or an effect of consumer psychology techniques Partho Dasgupta shares his views on consumer psychology
Eco friendly packaging, exciting discount, creative and targeted use of colors, patterns etc. what else speaks to the consumer in us? Partho Dasgupta believes in understanding what goes on inside the minds of consumers!
What is consumer psychology?
Consumer psychology studies human behavior in relation to their buying preference and overall pattern of consumption based on their sex, age, and underlying cognitive processes/biases that make them choose one product/service over another.
Humans have always been mesmerized and inquisitive about how the human psyche works and what makes us different from each other. We have applied principles of psychology in different fields like sports, industrial/organizational, crime, etc. but one field in psychology that affects us on daily basis is consumer psychology
Consumer psychology draws theories from not only psychology but also sociology, economics, and marketing. We may not be aware but there are a lot of subtle hints that advertisements give that draw us or avert us from a product. “Understanding psychology of the consumer gives businesses an edge, you have to know who you are targeting and how you can speak to them through the designing, packaging and the overall product delivery” shares Partho Dasgupta BARC Ex CEO India and Presently Managing Partner, Thoth Advisors
Consumers are naturally attracted to visually appealing packaging and businesses use consumer psychology to create packaging that catches the eye and stands out on store shelves. This can involve the use of color, typography and imagery that are designed to trigger positive emotions and associations. For example, you will always see a product that wants to project itself as natural in shades of greens, blues or other earthy tones.
Packaging of men’s products will be mostly darker stronger shades (mostly black). While the color of women’s product is mostly in soft pastel colors. Shape is also used to give subconscious signals to the targeted audience. Men’s products can be usually seen in rectangle or square with clear cut lines while products for women will be curvier or round in shape!
Even children are not exempt from being targeted for products. “Packaging of children’s products will mostly have a cartoon face on the packet with vivid colors that can be seen from afar. Even the placement of the products for children at stores is at a more child-accessible height than other products meant for adults. Finally, products for children are placed near the billing counter to attract the little ones even at the last minute of the check out! “, shares Partho Dasgupta. Much to the woe of parents, they have to make that last minuet purchase for their toddler falling prey to this simple placement strategy aimed at their little one!
Apart from these simple but efficient strategies that have been used for a long time, Covid has also brought about a major shift in consumer psychology. “People have become more conscious of the sustainability aspect of the products they consume. There has been a huge preference shift towards herbal/ayurvedic products and vegan/cruelty-free products, it only goes to show that the preference of people changes with time and in terms of values” shares Partho Dasgupta
Advertisers had to shift their ad campaigns online and companies had to make their online presence prominent as most people shifted online for their needs. The trend has continued post-pandemic also.
Brands that back a particular ideology are also gaining trends as people like to support groups and brands that not only provide products but true value. Locally made products have also found a strong foothold in the post-pandemic period. People feel like they have contributed to a cause like ‘Vocal for local’ by buying from their local vendors.
Today companies need to be cognizant of the fact that consumer psychology is changing constantly and they need to change their approach as well. Value is what the Indian consumer looks at, be it in terms of a cause or products.